This week's Agent Spotlight features Natalie Fischer Lakosil of Bradford Literary Agency.
Status: Open to submissions.
About: "Natalie is an Assistant Agent at the Bradford Literary Agency. An honors graduate of the University of San Diego, California, Natalie holds a B.A. in Literature/Writing. After nearly four years at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency and a brief dabble in writing author profiles and book reviews for the San Diego Union Tribune, Natalie joined the Bradford Agency in February of 2011.
“Natalie’s interests include talented, hard-working new authors with a fresh, unique voice and hook. Her specialty is commercial fiction, with an emphasis in children’s literature (from picture book-teen), romance (contemporary, paranormal and historical), upmarket women’s fiction and select nonfiction. Specific likes include historical, multi-cultural, paranormal, sci-fi/fantasy, gritty, thrilling and darker contemporary novels, middle grade with heart, and short, quirky picture books. She is always drawn to an open and positive attitude in an author, good grammar, and fantastical, engaging and sexy plots.
“Natalie is a member of SCBWI.” (Link)
About the Agency:
“We are an editorial-focused agency and prefer to work closely with our authors in helping to build strong, sustainable careers. We believe the best author-agent relationships extend beyond making sales; in order to best serve our clients’ needs, we must also be a partner, an advisor, a careful listener, a troubleshooter and an advocate.” (Link)
What She's Looking For:
From her Bio (as above):
“Natalie’s interests include talented, hard-working new authors with a fresh, unique voice and hook. Her specialty is commercial fiction, with an emphasis in children’s literature (from picture book-teen), romance (contemporary, paranormal and historical), upmarket women’s fiction and select nonfiction. Specific likes include historical, multi-cultural, paranormal, sci-fi/fantasy, gritty, thrilling and darker contemporary novels, middle grade with heart, and short, quirky picture books. She is always drawn to an open and positive attitude in an author, good grammar, and fantastical, engaging and sexy plots.” (Link)
From a Blog Post (10/2011):
“…I didn’t read a fantasy or a gothic-inspired ghost book, but I’d love to have those too – especially creepy, dark and chilling ghost (or fantasy) YA.
“The only kind of picture book I’m really looking for is along the lines of Square Cat by Elizabeth Schoonmaker – short, funny text, preferably character-driven (650 words or less) – and I’m being VERY very selective on PBs.
“I also didn’t read any middle grade, but I particularly love middle grade with heart, along the line of The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron, and middle grade with fantastical, paranormal, or sci-fi elements.” (Link w/more)
From an Interview (04/2011):
“I love stories with captivating writing and darker themes. If there isn’t a romance I want there to be a heart-shattering emotional pull from the main character. Sick, psychological twists and gritty are up my alley. On the opposite end, I love plain ol fun fantasy.” (Link)
From an Interview (10/2010):
“Romance novels. I’ve been putting a call out for these for months, and I’m still getting about 90% YA submissions!
“I’m always hoping for a project with an idea that makes me salivate to read, and writing that engrosses me to the point where I’m lugging it around on vacation in Vegas I want to finish it so bad (yes, that just happened).” (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
"What I will NOT represent are novels geared for the Christian market, ABC books, “boy” books (something specifically geared toward boys, such as sports books, gross bug books), non-fiction history books, TWILIGHT/HARRY POTTER spin-offs, epistolary novels (or any really niche books)." (Link)
She is also not interested in thrillers. (Link)
"I’d say I get a good query every 60 submissions. But I’ve requested up to fifteen from those 60. In short, the perfect query isn’t the most important part; doing your homework on agents (finding which are really a perfect fit), and having good writing and a solid story are.” (Link)
"The ideal manuscript is well-written, spell-checked, grammatically and stylistically correct (a good look at the format, quotations, paragraphs, and italics in published books is the easiest way to double check yourself), and follows our current submission guidelines (which can be found on our website). We’re looking for fresh ideas, original and engaging plot concepts, AND packaged with an ideal author…a patient, hard-working, professional individual who has an open mind to suggested edits, and who has an understanding of the market." (Link)
Her Advice to Writers:
"Slush tip of the day: don't tell me your book is like X bestseller. I'm looking for the NEXT bestseller, not the spin-off!" (Link)
"Use my name; let me know that you really PICKED me to query, and didn’t just have me on a list of 200 other agents. Send the FIRST pages of your book; don’t start at ch. 33 because you think it’s the best one." (Link)
“The most common mistake I see in sample pages is improper punctuation use, and improper use of tense. These drive me nuts. If a writer doesn’t know how to properly format a manuscript, he/she should not be submitting yet. Little things are okay, like typos, even tense if it’s occasional, but if I’m pausing more than I’m enjoying, it’s a no.” (Link)
"Don’t use those padded envelopes with the recycled paper stuffing; it’s like opening a stuffy attic, and makes me want to vacuum myself AND my floor AND my desk (which I’ve totally done)!" (Link)
"I am absolutely disgusted by authors who send out mass query e-mails. Or who lie in their query to get my attention." (Link)
“I’m pretty well known as a hands-on agent. I expect any client I sign to be open to suggestion, and I always discuss this upfront. I don’t expect to re-write a book, and I also expect to have to back off if the writer absolutely feels that what I’m suggesting is not best for their work. I really enjoy a collaborative working relationship.” (Link)
There is a page of agency authors on the website. Ms. Lakosil’s clients include:
Amy Alexander, Harry Bernstein, Monique Domovitch, Julie Eshbaugh, Stephanie Faris, Rachel Mercaldo, Roseanne Thong, J.A. Souders, Elizabeth Spurr, Elle Strauss, Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman. among others.
As of 2/12, Ms. Lakosil is listed on Publisher's Marketplace as having made 4 deals in the last 12 months and 8 overall. Recent deals include 1 mystery/crime, 2 young adult, 1 picture book.
Note: PM is usually not a complete representation of sales.
E-mail: Yes (only).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
“We do not open email attachments, unless specifically requested by an agent. Your entire submission must appear in the body of the email and not as an attachment.
“The subject line should begin as follows: QUERY: (The title of the manuscript or any short message you would like us to see should follow)
“Fiction - Please email a query letter along with the first chapter of your manuscript and a synopsis. Please be sure to include the genre and word count in your cover letter.
“Non-fiction - Please email your full non-fiction proposal including a query letter and a sample chapter. For detailed guidelines on how to write a non-fiction proposal, please check out the FAQ section.”
See the Bradford Literary website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
"It makes a huge different to me, or any agent, to see that the author has put in that bit of extra time to personalize the project, and to show he or she has thought seriously about the submission. In turn, I take that submission all the more seriously.” (Link)
See the posts listed below under “Blog Stuff” for more great tips and preferences.
The agency has a stated response time of 2-4 weeks on queries. If you have not received a response within 1 month, resend your query and note you’re resending (Link). Stats on the web show Ms. Lakosil usually responds within days to a few weeks to queries and 4-8 weeks to requested material.
What's the Buzz?
Natalie (Fischer) Lakosil has been representing clients since Sept ‘09. Her clients seem to love her and she's been known to seek out writers online whose excerpts she likes (in other words, she scouts!). The Bradford Literary Agency is very well respected, representing many talented and best-selling authors.
Follow her on Twitter @Natalie_Lakosil to get a feel for her funny and sweet personality.
Worth Your Time:
Contest Q&A with Natalie Fischer at Operation Awesome (11/2011).
Interview with Agent Natalie Fischer at Beyond Words (04/2011).
SHOW ME THE VOICE . . . Interview with judge, agent Natalie Fischer at Brenda Drake Writes (03/2011).
Literary Agent Natalie Fischer On Nailing Voice, interview at Adventure’s in YA & Children’s Publishing (03/2011).
Agent Advice Interview with Natalie Fischer at Guide to Literary Agents (10/2010).
Interview with Agent Natalie Fischer at Angels and Demons and Portals (08/2010).
Agent Interviews: Natalie Fischer at Let the Words Flow (07/2010).
Interview with an Agent: Natalie Fischer at Mother. Write. (Repeat.), (02/2010).
Interview with Natalie Fischer at Teens Writing for Teens (01/2010).
Interview with Natalie Fischer at A View From the Top (01/2010).
Natalie has a fantastic blog called Adventures in Agentland. Select posts include:
“What I Like… and Why Like It” (10/2011).
“HOOK 'em in (in three seconds or less)” (05/2011).
“Top Ten Query Pet-Peeves” (01/2011).
“Open Forum - Answered!” (11/2010).
“The Pitch Session” (10/2010).
Around the Web:
See the “Events” page on Ms. Lakosil’s blog for conferences she’ll be attending.
Client Rachel Mercado shares her "how I got my agent" story (02/2010).
There are other praise and client stories available if you search for “Natalie Fischer” and “Natalie Lakosil” in Google Blog Search.
Please see the Bradford Literary Agency website for contact and query information.
Last updated: 2/14/12.
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 4/29/10.
Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com
Note: These agent profiles presently focus on agents who accept children's fiction. They are not interviews. Please take the time to verify anything you might use here before querying an agent. The information found herein is subject to change.